Good News on the Revised GST Visitor Rebate Program

After some concerted lobbying by NOTO and our fellow associations, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has significantly relaxed two of the new requirements of the GST Rebate program.

Earlier discussions with CRA had indicated that providing guests with an itemized invoice would lead CRA to conclude that the trip was not part of a package. This would have required operators to produce two invoices: one that itemized every service in order to charge the appropriate amount of PST and a second invoice that would have one price for the full package and the tax amounts on it.

The CRA has posted its updated information bulletin/brochure covering the revised program which now clearly outlines the following with regard to your guests’ bills:

What is an all-inclusive price?

Generally, an all-inclusive price means a single price for all property and services sold together in a package. However, in the tourism industry, sometimes prices for certain property or services are listed on an invoice for information purposes. We would accept that such packages are sold for an all-inclusive price.

Our earlier information also indicated that guests would have to apply for rebates themselves, because rebates at source would only be permitted if a trip was booked and paid for outside of Canada. They have now stated that you may provide the rebate to your guest if a deposit of at least 20% of the total price was paid at least 14 days prior to the trip. The cheque or credit card for the deposit must be drawn on an account outside of Canada.

To review the updated bulletin please visit:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/gp/rc4160/rc4160-07e.pdf

Some operators prefer to have guests apply for the rebate themselves, rather than providing a rebate at source. In this case, the appropriate rebate form is available at:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pbg/gf/gst115/gst115-e.pdf

With these changes, the GST rebate program is very much like the old one we were familiar with, with the exception of the fact that the rebate is only available on tour packages, not accommodation. The bulletin contains a detailed explanation and examples of eligible tour packages on pages 5 through 8. Many of the things our industry provides, such as air transportation or guide services qualify as services, but a number of other things, such as meals or park passes, do not.

The main points to remember are:

Thanks to a lot of folks pulling together across the country, we obtained the changes to the GST program that the vast majority of operators were looking for. A special thank you is extended to all of you who wrote individual letters to government on this issue.

If you have further questions or concerns, please contact the NOTO office.


This article was taken from page 10 of NOTO's "The Outfitter" publication, Fall 2007 Issue

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